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Special forces’ unit commander killed in clashes with rebels in Tajikistan — source

September 16, 2015, 8:35 UTC+3 DUSHANBE
The commander of the special forces’ Alpha Group was one of the four servicemen killed in the clashes that continue in Tajikistan’s Ramit mountain gorge
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Ramit gorge

Ramit gorge

© ITAR-TASS/Oleg Davydov

DUSHANBE, September 16. /TASS/. Four servicemen, including special forces’ Alpha Group commander Colonel Rustam Amakiyev, have been killed in clashes with rebels from the armed grouping of former deputy defense minister Abdukhalim Nazarzoda in the Ramit mountain gorge in Tajikistan, a source close to the headquarters of the anti-terrorist operation told TASS on Wednesday.

Clashes broke out last night 60 kilometers to the east of Dushanbe in Tajikistan’s Ramit mountain gorge and still continue. The details of the incident have not been officially reported yet.

On September 4, the rebellious general together with his supporters staged two terrorist attacks in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe and Vahdat, in the country’s west. Nazarzoda seized a large amount of weapons and hid in the Ramit Gorge. Nine police officers were killed as a result of the criminals' attacks and 12 others were wounded. More than 100 terrorists have been detained in an anti-terrorist operation that followed the attacks. Twelve of them surrendered arms voluntarily. Twenty-two were killed in clashes with law enforcers. The anti-terrorist operation is still underway.

Tajik prosecutor general’s office initiated a criminal case against Nazarzoda, the former defense minister, on charges of high treason, terrorism, organizing an extremist group and sabotage. Similar charges were brought against Nazarzoda’s "closest supporter" Colonel Dzhunaidullo Umarov, who took active part in setting up a criminal group and attacking policemen in Dushanbe and Vakhdat. The prosecutor general’s office also said Nazarzods possessed a "big business" and dozens of illegally privatized assets."

Over the years of the civil war in Tajikistan in 1992-1995, Nazarzoda, dubbed Khalim, was a field commander of the Tajik armed opposition. After a peace deal was signed in June 1997, Nazarzoda was commissioned to the Tajik army under the programme of reintegration of former opposition gunmen. In 2014, he was promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed deputy defense minister. He was dismissed from the post by President Emomali Rakhmov on Friday, September 5, for "committing a crime."

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